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THE HAWAII PROMISE – Nearly 1,000 Students Awarded Hawai’i Promise Scholarships

Almost 1,000 students from the University of Hawaiʻi’s seven community colleges have been awarded Hawaiʻi Promise scholarships for the 2017 fall semester. This represents about 4 percent of the 23,000 students currently enrolled at UH Community Colleges.

Windward Community College

The scholarships are designed to remove all cost barriers to attending UH Community Colleges, which have already been recognized among the most affordable two-year public institutions in the nation. An estimated $1.4 million in Hawaiʻi Promise scholarships has been awarded, and the average scholarship per student is $1,416.

Hawaiʻi Promise provides aid for any financial needs not met by other forms of financial aid, such as federal grants and benefits and scholarships from UH or other sources. Its goal is to provide free in-state tuition for qualified UH Community College students and covers tuition, fees, books, supplies and transportation.

The governor and the legislature recognized the importance of this program and the need for those last dollars to make it possible for qualified students to go to college.
—John Morton

UH Vice President John Morton credits Gov. David Ige and the state legislature, which appropriated $1.8 million during the 2017 session for each year of the fiscal biennium 2018 and 2019 through the state budget bill.

“The governor and the legislature recognized the importance of this program and the need for those last dollars to make it possible for qualified students to go to college,” said Morton. “We thank them for their support and their vision.”

“Programs such as Hawaiʻi Promise remove cost barriers for anyone who wants to attend college, clearing the path for community college students to complete their education,” Ige said. “Higher education is the key to higher paying jobs and a better quality of life.”

Morton also noted that the UH Board of Regents first supported and approved the proposal for the Hawaiʻi Promise scholarship program in 2016. It was part of Gov. Ige’s executive package, and both houses introduced Hawaiʻi Promise bills in 2017.

How Hawaiʻi Promise works

There are a number of steps for students to qualify for a Hawaiʻi Promise scholarship. First, a student must apply for federal financial aid, by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The federal government calculates the Expected Family Contribution, or what the student’s family can afford to pay. Twenty-five per cent of the expected family contribution is applied to direct costs of attending college—tuition, fees, books supplies and local transportation. The balance of the family contribution is applied to room board and personal expenses.

If eligible, a student may then be awarded Pell grant and Supplemental Education Opportunity grant money. A student may also be awarded various UH and UH Foundation scholarships and/or scholarships from other sources.

If all these grants and award reviews are completed and the student still has unmet need for direct costs, such as tuition, fees and books, the student receives a Hawaiʻi Promise scholarship to cover any unmet direct costs.

National recognition

Hawaiʻi Promise has already caught the eye of the College Promise Campaign, a nonpartisan, nonprofit higher-education initiative to build widespread support for funding the first two years of a community college education. The campaign is chaired by Jill Biden and former Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer.

“The College Promise Campaign is delighted that Hawaiʻi has joined the rapidly growing list of states and communities expanding opportunity for students to complete an undergraduate degree or technical certificate without bearing the burden of unmanageable college debt,” said Martha Kanter, executive director of the College Promise Campaign. “The Hawaiʻi Promise extends educational opportunity to students of any age, including many who never imagined they could afford to go to college.”

Spring semester 2018

UH Community Colleges are encouraging even more students to enroll and apply for the Hawaiʻi Promise scholarships for the spring semester.

“Even though we are already among the most affordable two-year public higher education institutions in the nation, we want to make sure we meet the needs of every Hawaiʻi citizen who has a desire to better their life through higher education,” said Morton.

To apply for a Hawaiʻi Promise scholarship, contact the UH System Financial Office at (808) 956-8753 or uhsfao@hawaii.edu.

College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management Dean’s List, Spring 2017

The following students in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo received Dean’s List recognition for the spring 2017 semester:

Bishop Akao, Tiera Arakawa, Joshua Arizumi, Joshua Boranian, Edward Bufil, Pomaika`i Cathcart, Vincent Chang, Gema Cobian Gutierrez, Lexi Dalmacio, Alexandra Doi, Jesse Felts, Brandon Field, Kawaikapuokalani Genovia, Christian Grostick, Clarissa Guerrero, Johnny Jaime, Erin Kurdelmeyer, Jaylin Millan, Kassie-Lynn Miyataki, Kari Olson, Eissas Ouk, Nathan Pallett, Michael Pamatat, Maria Parker, Wesley Piena, Faamanu Puaina, Jacque Raymond, Connor Rhyno, Kaitlyn Rieber, Romance Romero, Salvatore Satullo, Kuupomaikai Stevens, Mark Tanouye, Emma Tiffan, and Jodie Van Cleave.

University of Hawaii Partnership Aims to Improve Tornado Forecasting, Warning Lead-Times

The Jonathan Merage Foundation and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) have expanded their partnership with a new project aiming to improve severe weather forecasting and warning lead-times associated with Front Range thunderstorms over northeastern Colorado.

Colorado storm. Credit: Steven Businger.

Improvements in Colorado’s thunderstorm forecasting rely on innovative data from its Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) network. The network is comprised of 12 stations north of Denver that monitor lightning activity. LMA sensors have revealed distinct tornado signatures 30 minutes prior to the formation of a tornado and are used to predict severe storms that also produce strong straight-line winds and large hail.

The southernmost LMA sensor is currently located 25 miles north of Denver. The new gift will enable the construction and installation of six additional sensor stations around and south of Denver, expanding the LMA network to cover the Denver Metro Area and improve severe weather forecasting for the most densely-populated area of Colorado.

Steven Businger and Jonathan Merage. Credit: Jana Light.

“Not only will this project allow us to provide better information to the Colorado community about incoming and potential severe thunderstorms,” said Professor Steven Businger, chair of the Atmospheric Science Department in SOEST and project lead, “but it will allow scientists to study and refine relationships between lightning information and the tornadic potential of thunderstorms. It will allow us to better predict dangerous storms and improve lead-times for tornado warnings, which has the potential to save lives.”

Two new sensors will be installed this year and four additional sensors will be installed over the next two years.

In addition to the new LMA collaboration, the Jonathan Merage Foundation has funded another year of investigation into long-range lightning data. The project is funding a postdoctoral student in Businger’s lab.

“Last year we developed a tropical storm model that can assimilate lightning data,” said Businger. “This year we aim to improve the way cloud processes are handled in the model and run some case studies, such as Hurricane Patricia and Typhoon Haiyan, through the model. This year will get us closer to our goal of improving our ability to predict the track and intensity of tropical cyclones.”

Both projects are currently under way.

UH Community College Students Prepare to Launch Payload From NASA Flight Facility

University of Hawaiʻi community college students are getting ready to launch their third payload from a NASA facility. The launch from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is scheduled for a window between 5:30 and 9:30 a.m. EDT on Saturday, August 12.

Nicholas Hermann and Cale Melcher

Live coverage of the mission is scheduled to begin at 5 a.m. EDT on the Wallops Ustream site. Launch updates also are available via the Wallops Facebook and Twitter sites. Facebook Live coverage begins at 5:15 a.m. EDT.

Smartphone users can download the What’s Up at Wallops app, which contains information on the launch as well as a compass showing the precise direction for launch viewing.

Project Imua is a joint faculty-student enterprise of four UH community college campuses (Honolulu, Kapiʻolani, Kauaʻi and Windward). Its primary mission is to engage undergraduate students in project based STEM research with real-world development of small payloads for space flight. A NASA grant awarded to the Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium has helped to fund the project.

Honolulu CC Project Imua Mentor Will Smith and students Cale Mechler and Nick Hermann are at Wallops in final preparations for Saturday’s launch. Another mentor and other UH community college students traveled to Wallops this past June to conduct preliminary tests on the payload.

For more on the August 12 launch and the participating universities and colleges, see the NASA website.

Construction of New Clinical Building at UH Law School is Progressing on Time, on Budget

Supporters, donors, faculty and staff of the UH Law School had a first close-up look this week at the new Clinical Building, which is rising in part of the parking lot next to the William S. Richardson School of Law.

A view of the front of the Clinical Building on the UH Manoa campus.

Reception guests were able to scrutinize the outside of the precast structure that is well over half complete. It is scheduled to be done on time and on budget, and will be ready for use in Spring 2018.

The reception also honored Professor Melody Mackenzie ’76, who will serve as acting dean for the next four months while Dean Avi Soifer is on Professional Growth and Development leave at the New York University School of Law. He returns December 1.

As the crowd toasted the new building and acting dean, UH President David Lassner shared words of praise, calling Richardson “a great law school” that is not only responsive to the community but trains students who go on to have positive impacts far beyond Hawai‘i. “The new Clinical Building will amplify that,” Lassner said.

Acting Dean MacKenzie told the crowd that the law school is a source of inspiration as a multi-cultural community whose primary mission is to advance justice. “Without CJ’s vision, many of us would not have had the opportunity to study law,” said MacKenzie, who was a member of the first graduating class, and who served as a law clerk for Chief Justice Richardson, the school’s namesake.

Acting Dean Melody Mackenzie and Dean Avi Soifer

The late CJ Richardson inspired the 1970s movement to build a law school committed to providing opportunities for Hawai‘i’s people.

Construction of the new Clinical Building was funded by $7.2 million in bond appropriations by the Legislature, partially backed by the school’s own funds. Recent additional philanthropy has contributed over $2 million and will pay for furniture and an advanced flexible wall system — not included in construction costs — as well as state-of-the-art IT equipment and landscaping. Additional fundraising is under way, including the goal of $5 million from a single donor for the opportunity to name the entire Clinical Building.

For more information, visit: https://www.law.hawaii.edu/

Unseen Archival Footage from Eddie Kamae Films to Debut

Historic and previously unseen footage shot by the late musician and filmmaker Eddie Kamae for his “Listen to the Forest” documentary will be available to the public online through the efforts of ʻUluʻulu: The Henry Kuʻuloha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawaiʻi to preserve, digitize, and catalog archival footage from the making of 10 award-winning documentaries by Kamaʻe and his wife, producer Myrna Kamae.

Eddie Kamae interviewing Kupuna Loea Malia Craver

The work is debuting online to commemorate what would have been Kamae’s 90th birthday on Aug. 4, and to celebrate the completion of the “Listen to the Forest” digitization effort. Kamae, recipient of a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, was a noted musician who began producing films to document and preserve authentic Hawaiian culture. When he passed away in January 2017 the Los Angeles Times remarked Kamae was “one of the most influential Hawaiian musicians in the last half-century and a filmmaker who painstakingly documented the culture and history of the islands.”

The complete descriptive catalog of “Listen to the Forest” and short streaming video clips of newly digitized footage can be found at http://uluulu.hawaii.edu starting tomorrow.

“Listen to the Forest” was part of the Hawaiian Legacy documentary series released between 1988 to 2007. The 1991 film is about the biodiversity of Hawaiʻi’s rainforests and the unique relationship of reverence existing between Hawaiʻi’s native people and its native landscape. In total, more than 33 hours from 84 videotapes of raw footage and interviews from the making of “Listen to the Forest” have been digitized and preserved by ʻUluʻulu.

The effort is the result of a March 2016 Preservation and Access Partnership between ʻUluʻulu and the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation to make the documentaries’ archival footage available to the public after it is preserved, cataloged and digitized. The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation was created by Eddie and Myrna Kamae to help perpetuate the cultural heritage of Hawaiʻi through music, film and video, educational programs, community outreach and archival work.

Work continues on preserving and digitizing the entire Hawaiian Legacy Foundation collection of nearly 1,000 videotapes housed at ‘Ulu‘ulu. Researchers registered with ‘Ulu‘ulu may view the full-length footage of interviews, traditional chants, and original songs and dances, upon request.

For more information regarding the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation, call (808) 951-7316 or visit https://www.hawaiianlegacyfoundation.org/.

The ʻUluʻulu Henry Kuʻualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawaiʻi is Hawaiʻi’s official moving image archive located in the UH West Oʻahu Library. The mission of the ʻUluʻulu Archive is to perpetuate and share the rich moving image heritage of Hawai‘i through the preservation of film and videotape related to the history and culture of Native Hawaiians and the people of Hawai‘i. For more information call (808) 689-2740 or visit uluulu.hawaii.edu.

Video clips available on request.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers Through Summer Academy Experience

On July 20, 83 high school students successfully completed a 6-week course at Honolulu and Hawaiʻi Community Colleges. The Summer Engineering Academy is designed to engage high school students interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

Students learned the basics of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer programming, including electronics, prototyping and writing code. In addition, they were introduced to college study skills, learned about the college admissions and financial aid process, and gained advanced math and science skills.

Throughout the summer experience, students met with project engineers during a field trip to the HART Waipahu Transit Center, and heard from organizations such as the Oceanit and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Engineering and School of Architecture.

High school students visiting the Honolulu Authority Rapid Transportation Waipahu Transit Center.

“The summer engineering program was designed to help the students choose a career path in an engineering discipline they enjoy. With practical hands on experiences students get a first-hand taste of the type of work involved in various engineering careers,” shares Norman Takeya, assistant professor and coordinator of the Summer Engineering Academy.

New funding and program expansion

This is the fifth year Honolulu CC has offered this program that was initially funded by Hawaiʻi P–20. This year funding came from Representative Mark Nakashima’s Work Force Development Advisory Committee on STEM in partnership with the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR). Additional funding came from the Fujio Matsuda Technology fund. This year’s funding allowed the program to be expanded to the Hawaiʻi Island where Hawaiʻi CC duplicated the program.

“We are so pleased to partner with Honolulu Community College in giving high school students a hands-on practical way to gain engineering and computer programming skills,” says DLIR Director, Linda Chu Takayama. “The problem-solving approach used in this project can be applied to any job because it fosters hard work, initiative, and teamwork, which are valued by all employers. This project also helps students define their educational and career goals, which make a smoother transition from school to work.”

Honolulu CC is committed to providing opportunities for students to learn more about STEM career fields. To learn more visit the Honolulu CC STEM website.

Nicholas Comerford to Serve as Dean of UH Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

Nicholas Comerford will start his new role as dean of the UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and director for Research and Cooperative Extension effective September 1, 2017.

Nicholas Comerford

Comerford is currently director of North Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, where he also is a professor in the Soil and Water Science Department. He oversees 2,300 acres of infrastructure, along with research and extension programs of faculty representing nine campus departments. In his early career, Comerford was employed as a forest soil specialist by the State of Washington, mapping forested soils in the foothills of Mount Rainier and along the Skagit River Valley.

Comerford’s research expertise is in the area of forest soils, with an emphasis in tropical and subtropical regions. His work concentrated on soil-tree root interactions, the measurement and modeling of soil nutrient bioavailability and general aspects of forest soil management. As an active member of the Soil Science Society of America, he was elected president of the society and served in that capacity in 2010. Comerford was a past board member and chair of the related Alliance of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science Societies (ACCESS) Corporation.

Comerford earned his PhD in Silviculture and Forest Influences from the State University of New York and Syracuse University, his master’s degree in Forestry from the University of Maine, and his bachelor’s degree in Forestry from the University of Illinois.

Said UH Mānoa Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Michael Bruno, “We are very excited about Dr. Comerford joining the leadership team at Mānoa. His impressive and varied accomplishments in the field, his expertise in tropical soils science, and his experience working closely with both faculty and the community via vibrant extension programs all add up to a terrific background for the new dean of CTAHR.”

For more information about the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, see https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/site.

UH Hilo Adds Australia to List of Countries with Formal Collaborative Ties

Student pharmacists at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) are now able to formally expand their educational experiences to the Land Down Under following an agreement with an educational partner in Australia.

UH Hilo has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Blackmores Institute, an academic and research organization headquartered in the northern Sydney suburb of Warriewood, New South Wales.

“We are excited to partner with Blackmores Institute,” said DKICP Dean Carolyn Ma. “This MOU signifies our commitment to giving our students the most competitive education possible while fulfilling our mission to establish a global identity.”

The agreement establishes a program called the “U.S. BI Student Pharmacist Intern Program” that promotes the exchange of international experiences. Students will have the opportunity to get credit through elective Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience courses, which all fourth-year students in the professional program must take before obtaining a Pharm.D.

“Blackmores Institute’s focus on advancing the knowledge and research on complementary medicine dovetails nicely with our own emphasis on natural products,” said Ma.

Blackmores Institute, with regional offices in Singapore and Malaysia, is the academic and professional arm of Blackmores Limited, an Australian natural health company. In addition to UH Hilo, the Institute also collaborates with Taylor’s University in Malaysia and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia.

Leslie Braun, director of Blackmores Institute, said that DKICP’s student pharmacist intern program supports their commitment to developing and delivering education that translates evidence into practical skills relevant to contemporary pharmacy practice and patient-centered care.

“Blackmores Institute welcomes this new MOU with UH Hilo as an opportunity to work with a like-minded body in advancing the quality use of complementary medicine in pharmacy practice,” Braun said. “We look forward to a mutually rewarding and productive collaboration with the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.”

Ma said she looks forward to the possibility of expanding research and clinical practice opportunities among mutual partners.

“We already have in common working relationships with universities in Thailand, such as Chulalongkorn and Rangsit Universities, so we have a good start at developing new and exciting possibilities in the field of natural products health care,” Ma noted.

The first DKICP student pharmacists will travel to Australia for a six-week advanced fourth-year rotation later this fall.

UH Hilo HOSA Students Compete at International Leadership Conference

Students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo earned a pair of top three finishes at the 40th Annual HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) -International Leadership Conference held recently in Orlando, Florida. The gathering featured 10,000 participants from across the nation, including 230 delegates from Hawaiʻi, along with teams from Mexico, Puerto Rico and Canada.
UH Hilo’s top performer was Chrisovolandou Gronowski, who placed 1st in Behavioral Health. Lark Jason Canico took top 10 honors in Prepared Speaking.

In team competition, HOSA at UH Hilo members Leslie Erece Arce, Marjie Ann Retundo and Jerold Alexis Cabel, placed 3rd in the Public Service Announcement event with their 30-second PSA on “My Preparedness Story: Staying Healthy and Resilient!”

UH Hilo Alumna Amerfil Grace Acob presided as the Hawaiʻi HOSA Postsecondary Collegiate Voting Delegate and participated in the election of the upcoming National HOSA Executive Council. Lorelei Domingo served as a member of the National HOSA conference staff. The Hilo HOSA Chapter was also recognized for its participation in the HOSA Happening event, where local chapters are required to submit a newsletter showcasing their activities and achievements.

Competition resumes in January 2018 with the Hawaiʻi Island HOSA Regional Conference at UH Hilo. Next year’s International Conference will be held in Dallas, Texas.

University of Hawaii Research Uses Satellites to Predict End of Volcanic Eruptions

Researchers from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) recently discovered that infrared satellite data could be used to predict when lava flow-forming eruptions will end.

Map of 34 volcanoes used to test hypothesis. Modified from Google Maps.

Using NASA satellite data, Estelle Bonny, a graduate student in the SOEST Department of Geology and Geophysics, and her mentor, Hawai‘i Institute for Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) researcher Robert Wright, tested a hypothesis first published in 1981 that detailed how lava flow rate changes during a typical effusive volcanic eruption. The model predicted that once a lava flow-forming eruption begins, the rate at which lava exits the vent quickly rises to a peak and then reduces to zero over a much longer period of time—when the rate reaches zero, the eruption has ended.

HIGP faculty developed a system that uses infrared measurements made by NASA’s MODIS sensors to detect and measure the heat emissions from erupting volcanoes—heat is used to retrieve the rate of lava flow.

Mt. Etna from space. Credit: NASA & US/Japan ASTER Science Team.

“The system has been monitoring every square kilometer of Earth’s surface up to four times per day, every day, since 2000,” said Bonny. “During that time, we have detected eruptions at more than 100 different volcanoes around the globe. The database for this project contains 104 lava flow-forming eruptions from 34 volcanoes with which we could test this hypothesis.”

Once peak flow was reached, the researchers determined where the volcano was along the predicted curve of decreasing flow and therefore predict when the eruption will end. While the model has been around for decades, this is the first time satellite data was used with it to test how useful this approach is for predicting the end of an effusive eruption. The test was successful.

Erupting Piton de la Fournaise volcano. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey.

“Being able to predict the end of a lava flow-forming eruption is really important, because it will greatly reduce the disturbance caused to those affected by the eruption, for example, those who live close to the volcano and have been evacuated,” said Bonny.

“This study is potentially relevant for the Hawai’i island and its active volcanoes,” said Wright. “A future eruption of Mauna Loa may be expected to display the kind of pattern of lava discharge rate that would allow us to use this method to try to predict the end of eruption from space.”

In the future, the researchers plan to use this approach during an ongoing eruption as a near-real time predictive tool.

National Accreditation Board Approves Eight-Year Tenure for UH Hilo College of Pharmacy

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) has graduated to the next step in national recognition by attaining full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) for a full eight years for the first time.
ACPE is the national accreditation body that evaluates all colleges of pharmacy in the nation. They sent the results after the June 21-24 Executive Board Meeting in Chicago to Chancellor Donald Straney and DKICP Dean Carolyn Ma.

“This is affirmation of the significance of maintaining excellence in all ways at UH Hilo,” said Chancellor Straney. “As DKICP passes the 10-year anniversary as the only College of Pharmacy in the Pacific Region, we can celebrate with all stakeholders, both at the University level and in the community, to recognize their hard work that has gotten us this far.”

DKICP was found to be “compliant” or “compliant with monitoring” in all 25 standards set by ACPE with no “partial” or “noncompliant” findings. In a prior ACPE evaluation in 2015, DKICP was granted full accreditation for two years with the provision that it was “contingent on continuous progress” and monitored by ACPE.

This year’s positive assessment was determined by a combination of a site visit as well as from a 110-page self-study compiled by faculty, staff, students, preceptors, administrators and community members from the Dean’s Advisory Council.

The ACPE survey team, representing faculty and administration from several notable pharmacy schools, practitioners in the field, and the ACPE accreditation staff, conducted the on-site evaluation in Hilo and Honolulu during the week of March 7-9.

According to their report, particular attention was made to the progress and changes that have occurred since the last focused on-site evaluation in fall 2014. It cited the appointment of a new dean as well as new chairs for each of the College’s departments.

The report to the Board noted that while research is still regarded critical activity for faculty, the College has revisited its mission and vision so that “evaluative expectations have been revised to more realistic levels.”

Other changes noted in the report include progress on construction for the College’s permanent building.

“As we all recall, accreditation was at risk previously when we couldn’t prove support for a permanent building,” Dean Ma said. “This time when the survey team visited, they could see concrete evidence that building has begun, and that we have a clear future. We are forever appreciative to the many members of our College, the community and the legislature who rallied behind us.”

Citing “good support” from the University, the report showed encouragement by future developments in interprofessional education, which includes working with members from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work and public health.

The accreditation term granted for the Doctor of Pharmacy program extends until June 30, 2025.

UH Study: Underwater Plate Size Spiders Breathes Through Its Legs

Sea spiders, a bizarre and ancient group of marine arthropods in the class Pycnogonida, breathe in a way not previously known to science, according to a study involving University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researcher Amy Moran and Zoology PhD student Caitlin Shishido.

A dinner-plate-sized Antarctic sea spider. Photo by C. Shishido

The study, published in the July 10 issue of Current Biology, was performed at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, while Moran and her team were there in the fall of 2016. Sea spiders in Antarctica can reach the size of dinner plates, part of a phenomenon known as “polar gigantism.” Most animals extract oxygen from the environment using specialized structures like gills and lungs, and distribute oxygen through their bodies using hearts and blood vessels. Sea spiders, distant marine relatives of land spiders, have no specialized structures to take up oxygen and their hearts are weak. Moran and her colleagues showed that sea spiders get oxygen through the surface of their legs and move it around their bodies while digesting their food with peristaltic contractions of the gut, which extends out to the end of all of the animal’s 8 to 12 legs.

UH Mānoa researcher Amy Moran dives with sea spiders in Antarctica. Photo by R. Robbins

“We are really excited about these results because they show that sea spiders solve one of life’s biggest challenges—getting oxygen into the body and taking it where it needs to go—in a way that is new to science,” said Moran. “The next thing we would love to know is if this is unique to sea spiders, or if other animals also move oxygen with their guts and we just never knew about it.”

Jon Harrison, a professor of biology at Arizona State University not involved in the project, says “This study beautifully demonstrates that sea spiders use their legs like gills and their guts like hearts, illustrating the important role of basic research in revealing very fundamental attributes of animal function.”

This work was funded by grants from the Division of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation.

Hundreds of Species of Fungi in Deep Coral Ecosystems Discovered by UH Manoa Botanists

Researchers from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Department of Botany have discovered hundreds of potentially new species of fungi in the deep coral ecosystem in the ‘Au‘au channel off Maui. Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCE) are generally found at depths between 130 to 500 feet and possess abundant plant (algal) life as well as new fish species. The mysteries of these reefs are only recently being revealed through technological advances in closed circuit rebreather diving. Previously overlooked—being too precarious for conventional SCUBA and too shallow to justify the cost of frequent submersible dives—mesophotic reefs continuously disclose breathtaking levels of biodiversity with each dive, yielding species and behavioral interactions new to science.

Manipulator arm of the Pisces V sub collecting algae in ‘Au‘au channel. Credit: HURL.               

The UH Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) used the Pisces V submersible to collect native algae from the mesophotic reefs in the ‘Au‘au channel. Using the DNA sequencing facility at the UH Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, Benjamin Wainwright, lead author of the study and a botany postdoctoral researcher, and colleagues determined which species of fungus were associated with the native algae.

Fungi have been documented in almost all habitats on Earth, although marine fungi are less studied in comparison to their terrestrial counterparts. Scientists have found fungi in deep and shallow water corals, marine sponges and other invertebrates. The recently discovered fungi, however, were found living in association with algae.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first documented evidence confirming fungi in MCEs,” said Wainwright.

Additionally, the research team discovered that 27% of the species detected in these deep dark environments are also found on terrestrial rainforest plants in Hawai‘i.

Rebreather diver and Pisces V sub collecting coral and macroalgae. Credit: Robert K. Whitton.

“Finding such high overlap of fungal diversity on terrestrial plants was surprising. Mesophotic reefs are as dark as it gets where photosynthesis is still possible, so to find the same species of fungi on forest plants illustrates the remarkable ability of some fungi to tolerate, and thrive, in extremely different habitats,” said Anthony Amend, senior author of the study and UH Mānoa associate professor of botany. “This ecological breadth is something that seemingly sets fungi apart from other organisms.”

Plant-associated fungi provide many benefits to society. For example, Taxol, a chemotherapy medication used to treat cancers, is produced by a fungus found inside tree bark and leaves. Additionally, research has shown that fungi are useful in bioremediation efforts (for example, oil spill and industrial waste treatment) and capable of breaking down plastic waste.

It is currently not known whether the newly discovered fungal species are pathogens, helpful symbionts or unimportant to their algae hosts.

“Further, we don’t currently know what metabolic capabilities they have that may prove to have medical or environmental applications,” said Wainwright. “We know other undiscovered species are present in these ecosystems. Unfortunately, if we do not look now we may miss our opportunity to benefit from them and conserve them.”

Deep reefs, like those in the ‘Au‘au channel, may act as a refuge as Earth’s climate changes, providing habitat for any marine creatures that can take advantage of this deeper habitat. If this is indeed the case, understanding how this habitat functions and how the corals, algae and fungi interact with one another will be vital to preserving the refuge in the deep.

UH Cancer Center Researcher Receives $20,000 Fulbright Award

Gertraud Maskarinec, MD, PhD, a researcher in the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center’s Cancer Epidemiology Program, has received a $20,000 Fulbright Award. It will enable her to research the relation of obesity, type 2 diabetes and breast cancer in Caucasian and Asian women.

Gertraud Maskarinec, MD, PhD

The research will address the global health problems of obesity, diabetes and breast cancer. As a nutritional epidemiologist, Maskarinec will perform comparative research using new statistical methods for six weeks at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, Iceland; one month at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, U.K.; and six weeks at the Research Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan. In addition she will give lectures and seminars in the area of her research, in particular nutritional epidemiology and ethnic differences in disease risk.

“No greater example of the continued importance of international education can be found than in the determination and drive of our 2017-18 grantees. These students, academics and professionals have identified the relevance of intercultural cooperation to their careers,” said Amy Moore, director of the Fulbright Awards Program.

The Fulbright Commission provides awards for study or research in any field, at any accredited U.S. or U.K. university. The commission selects scholars through a rigorous application and interview process, looking for academic excellence alongside a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright program and a plan to give back to the U.S. upon returning.

Hawaii Astronomer Receives $1 Million Award to Build Sharper Eyes for Maunakea Telescope

The University of Hawaiʻi’s 2.2 meter (88-inch) telescope on Maunakea will soon be producing images nearly as sharp as those from the Hubble Space Telescope, thanks to a new instrument using the latest image sharpening technologies. Astronomer Christoph Baranec, at the UH Institute for Astronomy (IfA), has been awarded a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build an autonomous adaptive optics system called Robo-AO-2 for the UH telescope.

The ultraviolet Robo-AO laser originating from the Kitt Peak (Arizona) 2.1-meter Telescope dome. Although the laser is invisible to the human eye, it shows up in digital SLR cameras once the internal UV blocking filters are removed. The apparent color of the laser beam is a result of the UV light leaking through the camera’s red, green and blue pixel filters by slightly different amounts. Image credit: C. Baranec

Construction of the new instrument starts at the IfA’s Hilo facility in September, and it will be operational in just two years. The instrument will take hundreds of high-resolution images of planets, stars and asteroids every night without operators on the summit. “The new Robo-AO-2 will usher in a new age of high-resolution science in astronomy,” says Baranec, “and we’re doing it with one of the oldest and smallest telescopes on Maunakea.”

The Robo-AO-2 system will take advantage of recent renovations to the UH 2.2-meter telescope, and the superior atmospheric conditions above Maunakea, to make some of the sharpest visible-light images from the Earth’s surface. “Because Robo-AO-2 will be so versatile and capable, we’ll be able to undertake surveys of an unprecedented number of exoplanet host stars and candidate lensed quasars, and even monitor the nightly weather of our planetary neighbors — all in high-definition color,” says Baranec. The latter is particularly timely as NASA is now planning to send probes to Uranus and Neptune in the coming decades. Knowing what to expect ahead of time is a crucial element of mission planning.

Baranec is also planning to use Robo-AO-2 to support education efforts in Hawaiʻi. “UH Hilo in particular has guaranteed time for their students on the UH 2.2-meter and I’m excited to see our local youth operating this cutting-edge technology for both classes and summer research projects,” says Baranec. In addition, time with Robo-AO-2 will also be made available to high school students through the Maunakea Scholars program, a partnership involving the Maunakea Observatories, Hawaiʻi State Department of Education and UHi, and led by Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope (CFHT).

The new instrument is based on the prototype Robo-AO system developed by Baranec at Caltech, and later used with telescopes at the Palomar Observatory and Kitt Peak National Observatory. It has been an indispensable tool in confirming or revising the thousands of exoplanet discoveries made by NASA’s Kepler mission, and in measuring the rates at which different types of stars are born into single, double, triple and even quadruple star systems.

All Robo-AO systems use an invisible ultraviolet laser to create an artificial guide star in the sky to measure the blurring caused by Earth’s atmosphere. By measuring how the atmosphere affects this artificial star, a flexible mirror in the system can be deformed to remove its blurring effects. Because light from the laser and celestial objects pass through the same atmosphere, and both are reflected off of the deformable mirror, images of celestial objects are similarly de-blurred, leading to very sharp images limited only by the same laws of physics that limit the sharpness of space-based telescopes.

More information on the Robo-AO projects can be found on the Robo-AO Website.

Hawai‘i Community College to Host Car Show Featuring Automotive Celebrity Charley Hutton

Hawai‘i Community College (Hawai’i CC) will host a car show on Saturday, July 15 with featured guest Charley Hutton, one of the most talented and well-known automotive painters and fabricators in the world.

The Hawai‘i Community College Auto Body Repair & Painting Car Show will be at the Manono campus in Hilo from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

During the week prior to the car show, Hutton will teach special workshops for Hawai‘i CC students in the Auto Body Repair & Painting Program (ABRP) and local industry professionals.

A Hawai’i CC Auto Body Repair & Painting student works in the paint booth at the campus in Hilo.

“We are honored Charley will visit us,” said ABRP instructor and alumnus of the program Garrett Fujioka. “This is an exciting opportunity for our students to learn from one of the best in the business. We are also thrilled to be hosting this car show, which will hopefully become an annual Hawai‘i CC tradition that helps inspire the next generation of local auto body repair and painting experts.”

A Porsche 356 Speedster rebuilt and painted by Hawai’i CC instructor Garrett Fujioka.

The car show will feature a variety of vehicles, including show cars, race cars, classics, imports, cruisers and trucks. The event will also feature door prizes every hour, refreshments, entertainment, and opportunities to meet Hutton. Any proceeds will benefit the ABRP Program.

About the Auto Body Program

The Hawai‘i CC Auto Body Repair & Painting Program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a Certificate of Achievement. The program provides classroom and hands-on live lab training that represents the latest technological trends in the industry. Alumni have established successful careers on Hawai‘i Island and elsewhere as auto repair professionals and business owners.

More about Charley Hutton

Hutton is the owner of Charley Hutton’s Color Studio and has appeared on reality television shows American Hot Rod and Overhaulin’. He is the winner of four Ridler Awards. The Ridler Award is given annually at Detroit Autorama to the hot rod that exhibits the highest degree of creativity, engineering and design. It is considered the most prestigious award of its kind.

Reptile Skin Grown in Lab for First Time, Helps Study Endangered Turtle Disease

Scientists, including Tina Weatherby with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), published a study wherein they reconstructed the skin of endangered green turtles, marking the first time that skin of a non-mammal was successfully engineered in a laboratory. In turn, the scientists were able to grow a tumor-associated virus to better understand certain tumor diseases.

Green sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered. Credit: Thierry Work, USGS.

In an international collaboration led by the U.S. Geological Survey, scientists engineered turtle skin in order to grow a virus called chelonid herpesvirus 5 or ChHV5. ChHV5 is associated with fibropapillomatosis, known as FP, a tumor disease affecting green turtles worldwide but particularly those in Hawai‘i, Florida and Brazil. FP in turtles causes disfiguring tumors on the skin, eyes and mouth as well as internal tumors. The virus also harms turtles’ immune systems, leading to secondary infections, emaciation and often death.

Examining how ChHV5 grows in turtle skin brings researchers closer to fighting viral diseases that threaten imperiled species.

“Fibropapillomatosis is the most common infectious disease affecting endangered green turtles,” said Thierry Work, a USGS scientist and the lead author of the study. “Our findings provide a significant advancement in studying FP, and may eventually help scientists better understand other herpes virus-induced tumor diseases, including those of humans.”

Scientists used cells from tumors and normal skin from turtles to reconstruct the complex three-dimensional structure of turtle skin, allowing growth of ChHV5 in the lab. In order to observe virus replication in unprecedented detail, Weatherby, a research associate at the UHM SOEST Pacific Biosciences Research Center, precisely cut ultrathin slices of the skin to a thickness of about 60 to 80 nanometers or about one thousandths of the thickness of a hair. Viewing these slices through a transmission electron microscope, the only one of its kind in the state used for biological studies, revealed bizarre systems such as sun-shaped virus replication centers where the viruses form within cells.

Although the existence of ChHV5 has been known for more than 20 years, the inability to grow the virus in the laboratory hampered understanding of how it causes tumors and the development of blood tests to detect the virus.

“Examining viruses within the complex three-dimensional structure of engineered skin is exciting, because virus replication in such a system is likely much closer to reality than traditional laboratory techniques,” Work said. “This method could be a powerful tool for answering broader questions about virus-induced tumors in reptiles and herpes virus replication in general.”

The U.S Endangered Species Act and International Union for the Conservation of Nature list sea turtles as threatened or endangered throughout their range. Aside from disease, threats to green turtles include loss of nesting habitat, nest destruction and bycatch in commercial fisheries.

The USGS partnered with the University of Hawai‘i, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Zurich on the new study.

For more information about wildlife disease research, please visit the USGS National Wildlife Health Center website.

University of Hawai‘i Receives Human Research Protection Accreditation

The University of Hawai‘i (UH) is now recognized as a top research institution that follows rigorous standards for ethics, quality and protections while conducting human research — and becomes the first research organization in the state to be awarded this highly regarded status.

On June 14, 2017, UH was informed that it was awarded full accreditation by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP). In addition to assuring the public that the rights and welfare of individuals who participate in research are protected, the accreditation demonstrates to potential collaborators and sponsors in the competitive global research arena that UH has built extensive safeguards into every level of research operations.

“The AAHRPP accreditation reaffirms the University of Hawai‘i’s commitment to strengthen protections for participants involved in our research and will serve as a catalyst to further increase our community involvement and engagement efforts in this area,” said UH Vice President for Research and Innovation Vassilis L. Syrmos. “I would also like to acknowledge the Human Studies Program team and all members of the three UH Institutional Review Boards for their key role in preparing us for this important accreditation.”

Along with UH, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Central Michigan University received recent accreditation from AAHRPP.  More than 60 percent of U.S. research-intensive universities and 65 percent of U.S. medical schools are either AAHRPP accredited or have begun the accreditation process.

About AAHRPP

A non-profit organization, AAHRPP provides accreditation for organizations that conduct or review human research and can demonstrate that their protections exceed the safeguards required by the U.S. government. To learn more, visit www.aahrpp.org.

About UH Research

Research conducted by the University of Hawai‘i (UH) impacts the quality of life in the islands and around the world. As the state’s major research university, and because of Hawai‘i’s tremendous geographic diversity, UH plays a prominent role in the state’s economic growth and development through its diverse and world-renowned research programs in astronomy, earth and ocean sciences, medicine and tropical agriculture. http://www.hawaii.edu/research/

FREE Culinary Apprenticeship Training Available Through Kapi‘olani Community College

FREE Culinary Apprenticeship Training Available Through Kapi‘olani Community College

What:  WANTED: Restaurants and local food service establishments and their workers interested in participating in the Hawai‘i Cook Apprenticeship, a free, 20-week culinary program to develop the next generation of cooking professionals, offered by Kapi‘olani Community College’s award winning culinary program.

Culinary students at KCC

Who:

  1. Current employees of local restaurants and food service establishments interested in career advancement.
  2. Local restaurants and food service establishments interested in free, professional training for their employees.

Why:

  1. The employees receive free culinary training from one of the best culinary schools in the Pacific region that will lead to career advancement and higher paying jobs.
  2. The restaurants and local food service establishments save time and money in training their own employees and will, in a relatively short time, employ more professionally trained employees that will result in better product and higher customer satisfaction.

When & How:  Current Kapi‘olani CC Hawai‘i Cook Apprenticeship enrollment ends on June 30, 2017 and the next enrollment period begins on October 2 for the intake that begins on November 13, 2017. Go to https://continuinged.kapiolani.hawaii.edu/hawaii-cook-apprenticeship-program/ or contact Marcus Fikse, Kapi‘olani CC culinary apprentice coordinator at marcusjt@hawaii.ed or (425) 308-6163 or (808)734-9484.

 Other facts:  

  • Apprentices attend a six-hour in-person lab class at Kapi‘olani CC once a week for 20 weeks on the basics of cooking and enroll in four five-week online lecture courses that cover food service industry, sanitation, menu planning and culinary nutrition and complete 2,000 work hours under the guidance of the employer’s chef.
  • Apprentices will be paid a progressively increasing schedule of wages during their apprenticeship based on the acquisition of increased skill and competence on-the-job and in related instruction.
  • Upon successful completion of the program, apprentices should receive promotions to be a bona fide line cook for that employer and being paid at the journey worker’s rate.
  • Apprentices receive a Hawai‘i Cook Apprenticeship certification equivalent to 14 credits, which is considered a full semester that would cost a Hawai‘i resident $1,794 and a non-resident $4,790
  • Kapi‘olani CC pays an apprentice’s employer a $500 stipend per apprentice who completes the program to compensate them for the time and effort to monitor their apprentice.
  • Apprentices must be at least 17 years of age, with a high school diploma or equivalent, have current TB clearance and MMR innoculations and possess physical, verbal and reading abilities essential for job safety.